In Decade of the Wolf, project leader Douglas W. Smith and acclaimed nature writer Gary Ferguson describe the journey of thirty-one Canadian gray wolves that were released in 1995 and 1996 into Yellowstone National Park and the people who faithfully followed them. The wolves have not only survived but completely changed the ecosystem, spilling a fresh measure of wildness across the world's first national park.
This updated edition includes additional wolf profiles, new information on the effects of climate change and disease, and a retrospective on what the scientists have learned during this extended study of the Yellowstone wolves.
Douglas Smith is project leader of the 'Yellowstone Wolf Project'. He has been studying wolves and working for their reintroduction to the wild for more than 20 years. Gary Ferguson is an award-winning nature writer. He has written several books, and his articles have appeared in such publications as Vanity Fair.
Reviews of the first edition:
"Wolf biologist Smith and nature writer Ferguson (Hawks Rest) deliver a compelling inside look at the Yellowstone Wolf Recovery Project, covering the 10 years that have passed since the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service made the controversial decision to reintroduce wolves into the national park. Their book is a detailed look at how the return of the wolves – once among the most numerous of North American predators – has provided scientists with a chance to witness "the dynamic forces of nature that drove this region before the coming of the Europeans" as well as to puzzle out what wolves mean to the area's ecosystem. Smith worked on the project, and the two authors offer hard facts (e.g., the number of elk killed by wolves each year is 9% of the elk population; the average life span of a wolf in Yellowstone is 3.4 years) as well as impressionistic "Portraits" of individual wolves that reveal their "epic lives, full of struggle and conquest." It's a perfect balance to Hank Fischer's Wolf Wars and will please fans of that well-received overview of the controversy."
- Publishers Weekly
"In 1995, after an absence of 70 years, wolves were returned to Yellowstone National Park. Trappers captured 14 wolves from three packs in Canada and transported them to acclimation pens in the remote north of the park, from which they were released 10 weeks later. Seventeen more from four packs followed the next year, and it is from this 31-animal nucleus that the current 170 wolves in the park descend. Smith has worked with the Yellowstone Wolf Project since its inception and has studied wolves for more than 25 years. With the help of nature writer Ferguson, he has produced a marvelously intimate look at the ups and downs of wolf reintroduction. From problems with their release (the wolves initially would not leave the acclimation pens) to the only wolf that escaped before the official release (he hung by his teeth until he could scramble over the chain-link wall), Smith was in the thick of it all. Well illustrated with black-and-white and color photographs, this intimate history of the return of the top predator to Yellowstone will find an eager audience."
- Nancy Bent, Booklist, starred review